Guy J.

JOSEPH GUY 1898-1918

23955 Private Joseph Guy, 1st Battalion, the Coldstream Guards was killed in action 27 September 1918 and is buried at Sanders Keep Military Cemetery, Graincourt-les-Havrincourt, France.[1]  He was 20 years old and is commemorated on the Cockfield War Memorial and the Bishop Auckland Grammar School Memorial.

Family Details

Joseph was born 25 September 1898 [2] at Cockfield to John and Mary Jane Guy.  There were at least 5 children to this marriage:

  • Mary bc.1892 at Escomb
  • Martha bc.1894 at Cockfield
  • John bc.1896 at Cockfield
  • Joseph born 1898 at Cockfield
  • Lizzie bc.1900 at Cockfield.

In 1901 the Guy family lived at Main Street, Cockfield where John Guy worked as a joiner.  Extended family members lived with them – Mary Armstrong, John’s mother-in-law and step-son 11 year old Moses John Armstrong. [3]  By 1911, John and Mary Guy lived at Esperley Lane Ends, Cockfield.  John was now described as a coal miner (joiner and shaft inspector), Moses worked as a coal miner (hewer) and John junior as a coal miner (pony driver).  13 year old Joseph and 11 year old Lizzie were still at school. [4]

Joseph attended Cockfield C. of E. School then between September 1912 and July 1916, he attended King James II Grammar School, Bishop Auckland.  1 August 1915, he was a “Pupil Teacher” before taking up a teaching position at Cockfield C. of E. School.[5]

Service Details

18 October 1916: Joseph Guy attested aged 18 years 25 days.  At the time he was employed as a student teacher. He was 5’6¼ and he was Church of England.  He was placed on the Army Reserve until mobilized.

17 February 1917: Joseph Guy was mobilized and over time posted to the 51st Training Battalion, 3rd Battalion DLI and the 3rd Battalion, the Coldstream Guards.  He served 1 year 303 days under this training regime.

17 July 1918: 23955 Private Joseph Guy joined the BEF in France and was posted to 3/Coldstream Guards.  31 August 1918, he was transferred to 1/Coldstream Guards.  Private J. Guy was killed in action 27 September 1918, after serving only 42 days in France.  In total, he served 1 year 345 days in the Army. [6]

The 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards entered France August 1914 and in August 1915 were transferred to the 2nd Guards Brigade, Guards Division.[7]  The 2nd Guards Brigade comprised the following units:

  • 3rd, Grenadier Guards joined 19 August 1915
  • 1st, Coldstream Guards joined 25 August 1915
  • 1st, Scots Guards
  • 2nd, Irish Guards [August 1915-February 1918]
  • 2nd Guards MCG
  • 2nd Guards Trench Mortar Battery [8]

The battalion served with distinction on the Western Front.  At the time of his death, the Guards Division as part of the 6th Corps, Third Army was involved in action at the Battle of the Canal du Nord, 27 September to 1 October 1918. [9]  Victoria Crosses were awarded to Captain C.H. Frisby and Lance Corporal T.N. Jackson of the 1/Coldstream Guards for actions taken 27 September 1918, the day Private J. Guy was killed.

Captain Cyril Hubert Frisby:

Acting Captain C.H. Frisby was in command of a company detailed to capture a canal crossing.  When the canal was reached, the leading platoon came under annihilating fire from a strong enemy post under the bridge on the far side of the canal. Captain Frisby with Lance Corporal T.N. Jackson and two others climbed down into the canal under intense fire and succeeded in capturing the post with two machine-guns and 12 men. Then having consolidated his objective he gave timely support to a company which had lost all its officers and sergeants, organising the defences and beating off a heavy counter-attack.   Captain C.H. Frisby was 33 years old.  He survived the war. [10]

Lance Corporal Thomas Norman Jackson:  

His citation for the Victoria Cross appeared in the London Gazette 26 November 1918 and reads as follows:

“For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice in the attack across the Canal du Nord, near Graincourt. 

On the morning of the 27th September 1918, Lce.Cpl. Jackson was the first to volunteer to follow Capt. C.H. Frisby, Coldstream Guards across the Canal du Nord in his rush against an enemy machine-gun post, with two comrades he followed his officer across the Canal, rushed the post, and captured the two machine-guns and so enabled the companies to advance.  Later in the morning Lce. Cpl. Jackson was the first to jump into a German trench which his platoon had to clear and after doing further excellent work he was unfortunately killed.  Throughout the whole day until he was killed this young N.C.O. showed the greatest valour and devotion to duty and set an inspiring example to all.”

Lance Corporal T.N. Jackson is buried at Sanders Keep Military Cemetery, Graincourt-les-Havrincourt.[11]  That day 3 officers and 38 other ranks serving with the Coldstream Guards were killed in action. [12]  Private J. Guy was awarded the British War and Victory medals. [13]


23955 Private J. Guy, 1st Bn., Coldstream Guards is buried at grave reference II.E.8, Sanders Keep Military Cemetery, Graincourt-les-Havrincourt.  [14]

Also buried in this cemetery are:

  • Lance Corporal T.N. Jackson VC, 1st, Coldstream Guards, grave reference II.D.4.[15]
  • Private G.N. Dent, 1st, Grenadier Guards, grave reference II.A.3, from Copley – perhaps Joseph Guy and George Nixon Dent were known to each other. [16]

The following article appeared in a local newspaper:[17]

“Killed; Pte Joseph Guy, Coldstream Guards of Esperley Lane, Cockfield has been killed. 

Mrs. Guy of Esperley Lane, Cockfield has received news that her youngest son Pte Joseph Guy has been killed.  Joe as he was intimately known enlisted in the Coldstream Guards.  He gave great promise of a successful career.  Educated at Bishop Auckland Grammar School he had just commenced as a teacher at Cockfield CE School.”


Private J. Guy is commemorated on Cockfield War Memorial and the Bishop Auckland Grammar School Memorial.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] Bishop Auckland Grammar School Admission Register & England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p259 Teesdale Q4 1898.

[3] 1901 census

[4] 1911 census

[5] Bishop Auckland Grammar School Admission Register & Auckland & County Chronicle 17 October 1918

[6] Army Form B2512 Short Service Descriptive Report, Military History Sheet, Statement of the Services






[12] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War note: Other Ranks’ battalion is not given

[13] Medal Roll card index

[14] CWGC

[15] CWGC

[16] CWGC

[17] Auckland & County Chronicle 17 October 1918



GUY J. Medal Roll

Medal Roll


Bishop Auckland Grammar School Memorial

Bishop Auckland Grammar School Memorial

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  1. Pingback: COCKFIELD | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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